Meet the meat… Or an investigation into ethical veal

Everyone enjoys what they term good food, but perhaps if I suggest I’m a bit of a foodie, you’ll have an idea of the level of food obsession.

That’s not to say I have never eaten McDonald’s – I have, most recently about two years ago after a late night drive home from Bristol airport – or don’t understand the peculiar pleasure of jalapeño peppers eaten from the jar.

But generally, I’m a fan of delicious food out in places that pride themselves on delicious photo-22ingredients selected in season for their provenance and quality.

Food Adventures really grabbed me the first time I read about it.

it’s not some sort of supper club – the days out organised by the company will put you in the same room as some great cooks to hear all about their experience, take you on a wine tour round South Wales’ surprisingly varied vineyards and get you out in the countryside with foragers.

I got to go down the farm with Food Adventure to meet some frankly adorable veal calves before enjoying some of their meat for lunch.

I’d like to say it was tricky eating something with such an adorable face, but it wasn’t.

It was absolutely delicious.

Read the piece here.

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He’s in fashion… Or how a young designer’s using tech to reach his audience

The modern world is moving fast – no one is more aware of this than the average journalist, who has gone from concocting multiple pieces from the same event or interview for a variety of publications to creating a multi-faceted approach for one outlet.

Of course, these days, the average online publisher expects not just copy, but images, a gallery, video, audio, a quiz, a chart, a call to action.

PIC CREDIT: Hari Greenough
PIC CREDIT: Hari Greenough

Manchester-based clothing designer Hari Greenough has jumped on board the new tech available to us all with both feet.

An innovative example of the modern fashion industry, Hari has pledged to overhaul the relationship between designer and consumer with quirky ideas such as using photography social network Instagram to show off his new collections as they’re being worked on.

There’s something to be said for using the media that’s accessible to us.

After all, the large majority of news consumers do so on their mobile phones, and they’re looking for new and interesting ways of using apps and sharing news with their friends.

I hope Hari’s approach gains traction, because he’s a young, exciting designer and those new ideas deserve to be heard – here’s hoping the modern world takes a minute to listen.

Read the piece here.

Nul points… Or why Eurovision is about more than just the music

Eurovision can send people one of two ways.

The annual song contest may fill you with patriotic dreams of triumph, memories of good humour and an excuse for a party.

Or you might bloody hate it. Eurovision_Song_Contest_logo

As a spectacle, I am fairly good natured towards it, but I was pretty surprised to chat to Dr Eurovision.

The Cardiff-based academic Paul Jordan earned his PhD, The Eurovision Song Contest: Nation Building and Nation Branding in Estonia and Ukraine, from the University of Glasgow in 2001.

It’s one of those moves that have given him a media presence, but also offers a political and cultural significance behind the frankly out-there performances from competitors every year.

In my view, it’s a really great chance to have a window onto the cultures of our European neighbours.

Personally, I’m not worried if the UK don’t win – which is probably just as well.

Read the piece here.

The force be with you… Or the famed actor who wasn’t at all starry

I am not alone in my affection for the original Star Wars trilogy.

I wouldn’t call myself a megafan – someone with a Darth Vader cutout in their lounge and an entire history of the galaxy memorised for more than just the sake of pub quiz skills.

But I always enjoyed A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with my family when I was a kid, characterising every Christmas and Easter outing of the films with an obsessive detailing of the script.

Warwick CollageSo speaking to Warwick Davis, who started out his film career as Wicket the Ewok in 1983’s Jedi, was both thrilling and nerve-wrecking.

I was talking to him about his ITV programme in which he and his family went on days out in the UK.

I toyed with how to broach the subject of Star Wars before the call, imagining that as an established and talented actor with an incredible range of roles between him and his time on the forest moon of Endor – he’s been in Labyrinth, Willow, some of the Harry Potter movies and teamed up with Ricky Gervais for comedy TV like Life’s Too Short and An Idiot Abroad – he’d be unwilling or unhappy to hark back to something so long ago.

I needn’t have worried. As well as being charming and engaging, Warwick still has a passion for his work with George Lucas.

He was funny and self-deprecating, and a real delight, especially when chatting enthusiastically about his new venture, the Reduced Height Theatre Company which stages theatrical productions cast exclusively with short actors and using reduced height sets.

As well as feeling privileged to chat with him, I was so grateful that my childhood memories remain undamaged.

Read the piece here

Buon appetito!… Or how talented, intelligent cooks wrote their own success story

As one of three sisters, I see now I’m in my 30s that my parents missed a trick.

Had they trained us to sing, dance, play sport a la the Williams sisters or excel in some other way, we would have been onto a winner – in both financial and career terms.

Sadly they were not the sort of tiger parents who thought of our success from birth – a real chiappashame if you ask me – and we went our own separate ways.

The Chiappa sisters are three Welsh Italian sisters who are successful independently of each other, but also thriving as a package; celebrity cooks.

There is no suggestion here that they were forced into the kitchen at a young age, prodded by a frightening mum and dad determined to create a family dynasty.

But their family given skills, nous and talent in cooking and food mean that they have featured on television, on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube channel and in their own cookbook.

The best part is, not only are they great at what they do and gorgeous, but they’re also really, really nice.

Wonder if it’s too late for the McCrum sisters to launch some sort of Northern Irish cooking empire…?

Read the piece here